Sudan is seeking to head the African Union which has peacekeeping troops within Sudan in an effort to halt the jihad carnage in Darfur, which is reported to be supported by the Sudanese government. If Sudan were to control the AU, they would also control the peacekeepers. Nice work, if you can get it. From Reuters:
KHARTOUM – Five African leaders have asked Sudan to withdraw a bid to head the African Union that has prompted worries it could sink the Darfur peace talks and dent the group’s credibility, an AU official said on Monday.
Sudan has nominated itself to chair the 53-member AU, based on a tradition that the host becomes the next head. Sudan, which is under fire for rights abuses, would take over from Nigeria.
However, Khartoum’s bid has provoked criticism from rights groups which say a Sudanese presidency would damage AU efforts to improve the continent’s record on democracy and human rights, and is opposed by several African regional blocs.
An AU official told Reuters that five heads of state had met Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Sunday and told him “there was a consensus that he should withdraw”.
“Bashir said he would consult with his neighbouring countries and reply,” the official said. He said the five nations included Nigeria, whose president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has already led the AU for two years.
“It is looking like the compromise is for Obasanjo to stay because then Bashir will save some face,” the official said.
An AU force of 7,000 troops is monitoring a tentative truce between the government and rebels in Darfur in western Sudan, and critics, including the United States, say it would be inappropriate for Sudan to head the group leading that force.
Darfur rebels have said they would walk out of AU-sponsored peace talks in Nigeria if Sudan becomes head…